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Mingqi

CHINESE TOMB FIGURINES

BY
WILLEM CLAESSEN

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Court ladies

Chinese women adopted foreign dress and fashion.In the Six Dynasties period, the reserved elegance of the long robe gives way to more voluminous skirts falling from close-fitting high-waisted bodices accented by fluttering ribbons. By the Sui and early Tang feminine attire blossoms into a display of styles brought directly from Central Asia and Persia.

A low-cut chemise-style dress with flaring skirt, sometimes with a sash tied below the hips, accompanied by a short-sleeved jacket and stole draped over the shoulder was particularly popular. Upswept hairstyles of single or double topknots and a variety of headgear, including tiaras, hoods, and even helmets enhanced the fashionable ensembles. In the eight century, the preference for tight-fitting foreign fashions adorning a slender female form was gradually replaced by one for voluptuous women dressed in loose, gauzy gowns. This aesthetic change is reflected in later Tang mingqi fat ladies whose matronly countenances offer a marked contrast to the girlish figures and delicate faces of Sui and early Tang ladies.